COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV)-- 'My Jersey, Our Journey' is the name of Cookeville High School's new tradition. It's where senior football players give their jerseys to the teachers or administrators who have made a big impact on their lives.
The Cavalier's newest tradition started weeks ago, but this week's football jersey day was extra special. It's senior night at Cookeville High School.
The football players got to kick off their last home game with gratitude. The student-athletes say they thought long and hard about who to give their jersey to.
"This is the last time I'll be able to give my jersey out because it's our last home game and it's my senior year," said Clayton Barrett to Scott Cook, CHS wrestling coach and PE teacher, as he handed Cook his jersey. "I feel like you've taught me the most life lessons I can use outside of the sports program here and I want to give you my jersey."
"The person I chose was my wrestling coach," Barrett explained. "I feel like he's taught me a lot of life lessons both on the mat and outside of the field house."
"Mr. Petett I want to give mine to you," said CHS senior Andy Crockett to Principal Max Petett as he gave Petett his football jersey to wear. "I want to give mine to you. I appreciate you a lot. You're a great principal."
"The teacher I gave it [my jersey] to, he's had a really big impact on my life because I've had him all 4 years of my high school," said CHS senior Sam Harness about Randy Mansell, Construction teacher. "He's the construction teacher."
Giving a jersey to someone who's been an inspiration is a new tradition for CHS's student-athletes.
"I'll wear it proudly," said Mansell while wearing Harness's football jersey.
The tradition started weeks ago to boost morale.
"In the last 2 to 3 years have been so hard with the pandemic and we went through the tornado in 2020, that just having some positive light brought back on them they have just loved it," said Michelle Bowman, one of the assistant principals at CHS.
Receiving a student's jersey has touched several teachers' hearts.
"I'm going to get chocked up here man," Cook said while holding Barrett's jersey. "Thank you very much. I appreciate that."
"You just feel like you're doing your job," Bowman explained. "You don't realize what an impact you might be making on somebody's life."
"I think it's great for the kids to reflect as well and show that sign of appreciation," said Julie Smith, CHS school counselor.
The school is hoping this tradition will continue into basketball season.